This study examined the number of repetitions, increase in heart rate, increase in blood pressure, and rating of perceived exertion of subjects performing the most-preferred and least-preferred tasks from a predetermined list under purposeful and nonpurposeful conditions. Twenty healthy women completed the four experimental tests in random order for a period of 10 min each. The results indicated that there was no significant interaction (p > .05) between task choice and condition, thus implying that the subjects’ performance was not influenced by task preference regardless of whether the activity was purposeful or nonpurposeful. Comparisons between the purposeful and nonpurposeful conditions revealed that the increase in heart rate and rating of perceived exertion were significantly higher (p < .05) during nonpurposeful activity for both the most-preferred and the least-preferred tasks. On the basis of these results, it is recommended that therapists use purposeful, or goal-directed, activities in their practice, even if they are unable to provide their patients with a choice of therapeutic tasks.

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